For most of the year All Saints plods on with a very small but faithful congregation. To outsiders it must look barely viable and I’ve often wondered how much longer it can exist in its present form. However, there are a few glorious moments when the light floods in. Whenever there is a festival, the village comes into its own.
Where else but in rural Dorset could you persuade a bunch of teenagers that a village nativity service was a good thing. Every local has taken part at some point in their life. It has become a village rite of passage and I love it. I love the sense of continuity with the past. I love the sense of belonging it engenders. I love that this place still has a shared history; most can remember what part they played. Not only are they retelling the greatest story ever told, they remember their part in that story.
Yesterday the biggest community event in the village took place and it was extra special because of all the snow. There was standing room only even though it was only the folk who live in the village that could come.
It has made me realise just how talented the folks are here. The prize goes to the churchwarden for writing a new script every year, but also we had teenagers who sorted out a sound and lighting system, (none in our church), another teenager playing the organ, two singing a duet better than any professional (most of the adults were taken to heaven), the WI singing a carol, kids decorating Christmas trees, a full nativity enacted by the younger children, loads of angels and shepherds and best of all, loads of happy folk joining together to sing favourite carols.
The churchwarden had even written a talk because he didn’t expect the boss to make it over from the next village. It was altogether more effective about the real meaning of Christmas because he had written it-an ordinary unassuming local builder. It was brilliant and shiny because it was the work of the people. It didn’t need a clergy person to draw it together or remind people about God.
I used to think that it was terribly twee and that dressing kids up in tea towels and tinsel did the story a disservice. I’ve changed my mind.
Well done village! I love the way you keep telling the story